The hydrogen fuel cell car segment in the United States (actually in California, where the series-produced models are available) continued its rebound last quarter, potentially heading towards the best year ever.

According to the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership's data, during the third quarter of 2023, 966 new hydrogen fuel cell cars (aka FCV or FCEV) were sold in the U.S., which is 531 percent more than a year ago (from a low base of 153 units).

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership's FCVs sales data comes from Baum and Associates. "Sales data is based on car sales sold by a dealer to a retail or fleet customer."

This result comes on top of the Q2 record of 1,076 units, which is an interesting and even surprising result, considering that the number of available car models actually decreased and there is not much progress in terms of refueling infrastructure.

2021 Toyota Mirai

The FCV segment currently is dominated by one model - the Toyota Mirai, which noted 882 sales during the quarter (up 1,016 percent year-over-year), while the Hyundai Nexo appears to be weakening (68 units in Q3). Other models (looking at the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell) were discontinued a few years ago.

If Hyundai decides to focus on all-electric cars and ditches the Nexo, then Toyota will remain alone on the battlefield.

Meanwhile, all-electric car registrations in California are 100 times higher, at roughly 100,000 units per quarter or so (not even including the rest of the country).

Hydrogen car sales in Q3'2023 (YOY change):

  • Total: 966 (up 531%)

Hydrogen car sales reported by the manufacturers in Q3'2023 (YOY change):

  • Toyota Mirai: 882 (up 1,016%)
  • Hyundai Nexo: 68 (down 8%)

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Sales In The US - Q3 2023

During the first nine months of the year, more than 2,700 new FCVs were sold, which is 39 percent more than a year ago.

Hydrogen car sales in Q1-Q3'2023 (YOY change):

  • Total: 2,767 (up 39%)

Hydrogen car sales reported by the manufacturers in Q1-Q3'2023 (YOY change):

  • Toyota Mirai: 2,604 (up 81%)
  • Hyundai Nexo: 173 (down 50%)

For reference, in 2022 FCEV sales exceeded 2,707 (down 19 percent year-over-year), which means that this year will be better than 2022 - potentially, the best ever.

The overall cumulative sales of FCVs exceeded 17,700 as of the end of the quarter (not counting vehicles removed from use), which is 25 percent more than a year ago. This number includes almost 14,000 Toyota Mirai.

There is now a big chance that in 2025 we will see the 20,000th hydrogen fuel cell car sold, but considering more than 10 years of sales (since 2012) and all the incentives for hydrogen, that's nothing to celebrate.

Refueling infrastructure

As of October 25, 2023, the number of open retail hydrogen stations in California stood at 55 (two more than in December, but three less than in May):

  • Open - Retail: 55
  • Open - Legacy Retail: 0
  • Currently Unavailable: 10
  • In Construction: 5
  • In Permitting: 18
  • Proposed: 4
  • On hold: 5
  • Total (Light Duty): 97

We also noted that the number of sites under construction, in permitting or proposed, decreased slightly compared to the previous reports. See the full list of hydrogen infrastructure here.

A quick calculation reveals that there are 322 cars per single station (cumulative sales divided by the number of open retail stations). Although, it's less due to the early cars that have been removed from service.

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